Coming off a strong performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first preseason game, the Eagles’ secondary will face a much greater challenge against the Cincinnati Bengals. With the addition of T.O. and Antonio Bryant, the Bengals have added great depth to the wide receiver position. Pairing these two up with the entertaining Chad OchoCinco should allow for a real test for the Birds tomorrow.
Unfortunately, it looks like the Eagles could be without their number one corner, Asante Samuel. Samuel tweaked his hamstring on Tuesday mornings practice leaving his playing status as questionable. With Samuel’s condition in jeopardy, this should allow Joselio Hanson to slide into the starting role at left corner back. Hanson got burned for a long touchdown in the second quarter against the Jags. However, Hanson should have an opportunity to prove his ability this week against stronger receivers for about a half in Friday’s game. He is an important piece to this defense, but let’s see if he is ready to match up against Batman and Robin (T.O and OchoCinco).
Along with Ellis Hobbs and Hanson, another impact player who will get a chance to show the coaches what he is all about is Dimitri Patterson. Patterson uses his size well but sometimes he gets out of position. This will definitely be something to keep an eye on.
The corner backs will be undersized against the Bengals’ wide receivers. Hanson comes in at 5-8, 185; Hobbs is listed at just 5-9, 195 lbs; and lastly Dimitri Patterson is 5-10, 200lbs. As you can see our corners are not the tallest of the bunch. What they lack in size, they will surely have make-up for in heart and technique because Chad and T.O. are over 6 ft. and have some serious speed. It would be great to hear all the smack talk that goes on the field with T.O. and OchoCinco on the same team.
This game is important because it resembles what the Eagles’ corners will be up against in their division this season. The NFC East is full of big wide receivers. In the divisio,n there is Washington’s Devin Thomas (6-2) and Malcolm Kelly (6-4); Dallas’ Roy Williams (6-3), Miles Austin (6-2) and rookie Dez Bryant (6-2); and Giants’ Hakeem Nicks (6-0). This may only be a preseason game, but this will give us a better idea exactly where the defense is at the moment and what to expect against our division rivals.